Josh Brolin cast in lead role for Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake; Christian Bale rumored as well
A few weeks ago, Spike Lee officially signed on to direct the English-language remake (2012) of the South Korean revenge classic Oldboy (2003). Now, Deadline.com has confirmed the rumor that Josh Brolin will star in the film. He’s expected to take on the lead role that Korean great Min-sik Choi made famous.
Whether or not you find a remake of the cult classic necessary, Brolin is an intriguing choice. He ought to nail the hardheaded, brutal nature of the lead character seeking revenge at any cost. In addition, Brolin seems to have mastered the art of brooding, something the character will be doing plenty of in the movie. So while remaking Chan-wook Park’s Oldboy is a highly risky endeavor to say the least, the casting of Brolin gives fans some hope amidst numerous concerns over the whole ordeal.
Also reassuring, reports have indicated Christian Bale may be in talks to star opposite Brolin as the villain. Previously portrayed by Ji-tae Yu, the antagonist is a very complex character as well, perhaps more so than the protagonist. If Bale does indeed officially attach himself to the film, fans should not only have some hope for a solid remake but also perhaps begin to get excited about it. The method actor would bring a multitude of talents and an undying devotion, as with any film, to the role. Although many fans will remain skeptical about the prospects of Lee’s remake, the news of Brolin’s casting and Bale’s possible involvement should at least lessen the blow of disdain. In fact, despite my concerns about the remake, it is still one of my Most Anticipated Films, if at least to see how Hollywood handles the source material and remakes one of my favorite films.
The remake of Oldboy does not have an official release date yet, but IMDB lists 2012 for now; while this date is unlikely, given that the film will not begin production until at least March 2012, it could see an end of the year release.
For more information on the original film and Lee’s decision to remake it, check out my article HERE.
Also, if you haven’t seen the South Korean version of Oldboy, do so as soon as you can and especially before Hollywood releases its remake. Below is my short argument as to why you should watch it:
If you haven’t seen the original South Korean film, then you absolutely must do so before the remake comes out. Even if Hollywood wasn’t planning a remake, Oldboy is more than worth a viewing, as it has basically defined South Korean cinema since the new millennium and put the country’s cinema on the international stage. In fact, the original film is not only worth numerous viewings but also requires it – the story, at least as portrayed by the South Koreans, is a brutal, mind-boggling tale of revenge with a twist or two that has never and may never be topped in film history. Furthermore, it is simply one of the best revenge films ever made, regardless of its origin (though South Korean filmmakers tend to make amazing vengeance flicks, such as the recent Kim Jee-Woon-directed I Saw the Devil). Though a word of caution is necessary before you see the original film – it is awfully gory at times and has a disturbing and perverse story underneath it all; it is not a film for the squeamish or unprepared as it clearly pushed the envelope in several ways, even for today’s post-Saw standards. Nonetheless, it is a bizarrely beautiful, nearly perfect film full of depth and features an astounding lead performance by South Korean legend Min-sik Choi.
Extra trivia regarding two prominent South Korean filmmakers: Both Kim Jee-Woon and Park Chan-Wook will have their English-language debut soon with The Last Stand (2013) and Stoker (2012), respectively. More on each of these productions can be found in casting news articles I recently posted found HERE and HERE.